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I tell my kids on a regular basis that people are more important than things. I tell them this, because I believe it is true. Like most true...

Three Dave's No Waiting

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bribe your kids? Get on board!

Our kids are passionate about some of the same things we are passionate about. Amy and I love books and libraries, and so do the kids. Amy and I love going swimming at the local pool, and so do the kids. This is good because, otherwise, we'd have to get a babysitter while Amy and I played Marco Polo with other people's kids.

One thing our kids have not shared our passion about, is jumping off the diving board. Amy and I love jumping and diving off the diving board. Before we were married we would sometimes take her cousins swimming and be the only people over 14 in line for the diving boards. Our kids do have strong emotions abut going off the board: fear and dread. Puppy is still not ready for such an adventure. But the bigs are excellent swimmers and love spending hour after precious hour in and under the water.

So yesterday, I paired irresistible forces, Bunny's love for money, and Spider Droid's pathological need to do whatever his sister does, with an immovable object: fear of going off the diving board. I offered Bunny $5 American to jump off the board. I also offered it to Spider Droid, but knew it would have no impact unless I could get Bunny to budge. You should have seen the internal argument that her face betrayed. Five dollars....sink to the bottom of the pool. Buying what I want....not living long enough to buy what I want. (You get the idea.)

Finally, she decided my offer was too lucrative to pass up. She waited in line, climbed up onto the diving board, and jumped in. She didn't sink and swam right to the ladder. When she got out, she went back in line again. And guess who was behind her....Spider Droid.

Spider Droid waited in line, climbed up the ladder, climbed down the ladder, waited in line again, climbed up the ladder, and finally jumped in the water. He also did not sink. Nor did anyone sink the next dozen or so times the three of us jumped off the board.

You see, I knew that they would love the diving board if they tried it and I was right. I just needed to find a motivation strong enough for them to get over their fear. Each kid is motivated differently. Five dollars alone would never have been sufficient to get Spider Droid on the board. Don't get me wrong, he'll take the money. But he could not resist trying something that his sister said was fun.

So call it what you will: bribery, knowing your kids' triggers, speaking their love language, or just giving them an offer they can't refuse. Seeing my kids love something that I love and that we as a family can love together, wasn't exactly priceless, but worth a whole more than 10 measly bucks.

Next Time: Little Town Review

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